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A Golden Anniversary Fit for “The King”
Richard Petty visits NASCAR's New York office as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first race
Kevin Kane
Petty Enterprises will celebrate “The King” Richard Petty’s 50th anniversary in NASCAR this weekend.  The plan includes Petty getting back into a racecar and turning laps at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway.

On July 12, 1958, Petty made his first NASCAR start in the old Convertible Division at Columbia (S.C.) Speedway in Cayce, South Carolina.  On July 12, 2008, Petty Enterprises and the entire NASCAR community will celebrate the anniversary of that race at the Chicagoland Speedway, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is competing in the Life Lock 400.

Petty Enterprises will be marking the anniversary with numerous special events and promotions.  The team has extended an invitation for the CEOs of their sponsors and partner companies to come to Chicago to help them commemorate the anniversary.  As part of the activities, Petty will return to a racecar to give some of his special guests a ride around Chicagoland Speedway in a Richard Petty Driving Experience stockcar.

“’The King’ has carved-out a legacy that can never be equaled in NASCAR,” said Petty Enterprises Vice President of Marketing, Brian Moffitt.  “Whether it is wins, championships, integrity, commitment to helping others or fan affinity, his career speaks for itself.  We are excited to celebrate his 50-year legacy with programs in which our partners find value and at the same time allow Richard to stay connected to the core of the sport, the fan.

As a tribute to Petty and the anniversary of his first race, the No. 43 and No. 45 will be featuring special throwback paint schemes for the Life Lock 400.  The paint schemes feature the Petty Blue color made famous by Petty and in a nod to the 60’s and 70’s, racing strips. Each will also carry the 50th anniversary commemorative logo on the hood of both cars.

Richard Petty is known for his fan friendly approach and as part of the 50th celebration, the team is offering a way for his fans to be included in the celebration.  Petty Enterprises will join with Dodge and Marathon Petroleum Company to carry out a unique fan promotion scheduled to launch in early June. 

“As much as he is renowned for his success on the racetrack, ‘The King’ has always connected with the fan and still does to this day” said Moffitt.  “It’s just part of who he is. He understands that the fan is what makes NASCAR successful. He takes the time to sign every autograph and to pose for a picture with every child.  It is with that same fan appreciation that our plans include elements in which the fans can participate in this milestone event. 

Over his 35 years as a driver, ‘the King’ achieved some amazing feats on the racetrack including scoring a record 200 wins and seven Winston Cup Championships.  Petty changed the sport of auto racing, influenced the way that drivers interact with their fans and in the process became an American icon.

The 50th anniversary of Petty’s first race is an opportunity for Petty Enterprises, the NASCAR community, and all NASCAR fans to honor him for his achievements and for the countless contributions he has made to the sport.

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